Mistress of Disguise

Because modern clothes are stupid

Slow descent into hell
I’ve had what was quite possibly the worst weekend ever. Well, the worse Friday ever. I knew it would be bad when I woke up to my mother making jokes about how fat I am. It steadily got worse from there.

There had been a house that I had been keeping an eye on – this absolutely stunning 3000 square foot Victorian fixer upper. It needed a lot of work, but it was all cosmetic and I could have fixed it myself. It was dirt cheap and within our projected budget. I called the realtor to do a walk-through, only to find that it had sold that morning. To say I was devastated would be the understatement of the century. I expected it to go pretty quickly because of the insanely low price tag (even I could afford it, which says a lot right there), but I didn’t think it would go within a couple of days of the listing going up. So, I found out the house was gone on Friday.

Then, after work I came home and discovered that Dad, who is usually on my side during family blowups, had gone through my bedroom, taken out all the furniture he could handle on his own, and left a note on the door that he expected us to be moved out in a month. I’ve only had my job for a few weeks! I sat down with him and talked it over, and it turned out that he had gotten pissed off about something unrelated (cable installation) and had directed his anger in our direction. We ended up having a long talk about our financial plans and goals and things were calmed down and worked out, so there’s no threat of being kicked out in the immediate future, but I can tell that if we aren’t out within six months things are going to get ugly.

So, M and I started moving our things into storage on Saturday. I had already reserved the storage unit earlier in the week, and we had planned to begin packing things up and clearing our non-essentials out of the house, but this whole incident put a very fine point on the matter, so we spent all of Saturday and the better part of Sunday packing up everything we could get our hands on and putting it in storage, which was physically and emotionally exhausting. I’ve never seen my bedroom look so bare! We have just the bed, the dresser, the desk, and one small shelf left now. There are some things under the bed that need to be taken out, but otherwise, it’s bare. We even packed up the decorations on the walls and stored them. We’re hitting the sewing room next and packing things away over the course of the week. We figure it will be best to have 90% of our stuff in storage so that when we finally have a down payment saved and can put in an offer on a place, then we can be out of the house in minimal time.

I feel just so unwelcomed in the house now, and even though things have been calmed down for now, I feel like I’m creeping around corners just waiting for the next blowup. I’m hoping another bargain house comes around (there are a couple of other foreclosed fixer uppers that I’m keeping my eye on) and that they stay on the market long enough for us to save the down payment. We’re still about $6000 under our goal, which we can reach by December if we really cut down to the absolutely bare minimum. It’s going to suck, but not as much as staying in this house for much longer.

5.4.17 - The morning meeting in the Captain's office turned into a two hour session of him telling old war stories from his time on patrol. It was hilarious and so enjoyable to get to know my boss better. I think I've ended up in a really good place, I love being part of a work community like this.

5.5.17 - The Captain was out of the office today, which meant I had nothing to do. Except for 8 hours of French lessons. I managed to knock out 50 practice lessons. My brain hurts. In a good way.

What sort of fabric do you guys think this gown is made of? The listing just has it as "silk" but I just can't figure out what kind of silk I'm looking at.

You can zoom on the museum listing: http://www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org/art/explore-the-collection?id=11692921

(no subject)
I can’t really tell you all how much it means to me to read all your kind words of sympathy and support. I often don't share my deepest feelings because I don't want to be a burden on anyone, so I didn’t expect such an outpouring of love, and I really don’t know how to express how much it means to me.  I’m so lucky to be part of a group of such amazing women, and I love all of you. Thank you for everything!

Things are starting to look up, and I think we’re over the worst of it. The tickets from M’s accident ended up being dropped because of clerical errors, and his insurance is going to cover all the fallout from the wreck, so thankfully it won’t add any additional expenses to our budget. The generosity of friends is seeing us through until my paychecks from the new job come through, which was unexpected and touching and definitely made me cry in the work bathroom for a while. XP

I love all of you. <3<3<3

Shoe Makeover
I finally tried my hand at making over a pair of eBay shoes to make 18th Century foot goodies, and I couldn't be happier with how they turned out!  They started life as super butt ugly snake skin print pumps and they eventually became these:

(Full write-up on my costume blog.)

I used bauhausfrau's original tutorial, Couture Mayah's blog, and a couple of posts from The Lady Victoria as my guidelines. I used a remnant from my Stash (which is also becoming new stays) and some trim from Joann's. The buckles are some old AD tension buckles that I plan to replace with some brass ones from Fugawee that I liked, but they haven't arrived yet and I was too eager to take pics to wait for them. XD

I've already ordered another pair of ugly shoes with good heels and am trying to decide whether to use a pink damask or a red brocade that I have good sized remnants of. The pink is pretty pale, and I had been thinking of making it into a caraco or gown (there's only 6 1/2 yards of it, so probably caraco) but it's this soft baby pink that I'm not totally in love with. But the red seems more suited to earlier impressions while the pink leans more mid to last quarter. We'll see what the shoes say when they arrive.

Embroidered Stomacher!
I started this project almost two years ago,  but I let it languish in the UFO pile for a long time. I've had so much down time recently waiting to hear from the new job, so I finally dug it out and finished it!

I actually finished the embroidery last year, I just had to finish the eyelet sections and assemble everything. I'm glad I can finally check this one off the list so it stops staring at me from the corner of the sewing room. XP

3.30.17 - It finally happened! I finally made it through the incredibly long hiring process for the Sheriff's Office, and they officially offered me the position as Capt. Eckhart's secretary. It seems like it's been an endless series of polygraphs, fingerprints, background checks, and medical screenings, but it's overwith! I am employed!

I have orientation on Monday and Tuesday, and then I officially start on the 10th. They did pretty much exactly what I expected and waited until I could come in on the new payroll schedule, but it actually works out that I'll get my first paycheck from the county exactly two weeks after my paycheck from the museum, so there's no awkward money-less period.

So excited!
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3.16.17 - Went out with my coworkers after the museum closed and ate some sushi at Blue Sushi's happy hour. I really like my current coworkers (most of them, anyway), and I feel like my relationships with some of them could develop into real friendships. It felt so great to go out and do something non-family related and to just hang out with people. So fun!

3.17.17 - M officially agreed to the Paris trip! Now we just need to set a budget and save up for it. :D

I'm getting a little excited about next year's 18thC costume events, guys. It sounds like the Francaise Dinner coordinators are trying to have their event in Williamsburg next year! It would be so amazing to make an entire weekend in Williamsburg out of it, and I've already been going through the Stash fabrics mentally, figuring out what to make for me and M. That's still a bit question mark, though, as nothing seems to have been decided yet, but if they do end up moving it there next year, we are SO THERE.

And, it's a little crazy, but I'm going to try and make it to Fêtes Galantes Versailles next year. This year is definitely NOT doable, but with over a year to save, plan, and sew, I think we can make it happen. I've been looking at AirBnB at places in Paris, and there are some places in the center of the city that look amazing, are close to everything, and are under $100, which is way better than I expected. That means we can probably splurge on the big shiny tickets that include tours of all the private royal rooms and the concert in the chapel and all that. I'm also thinking we might take a week in Paris, and then hop a train to Germany so we can spend some time with my family there. Some of them will be here for my sister's wedding in October, but my grandmother and my uncle can't fly, so M won't get to meet everyone. My grandmother is also in her 90s, so I really want to take advantage of any chance that I have to see her.

Anyway, this is all in the planning stages, but I am SO EXCITED for next year! This new job opportunity is finally going to give me the chance to do the things I've always dreamed of. Captain Ekhart called this morning just to catch up and see how the process was going. He's really eager for me to start, and so am I. I'm just waiting for one of my references to return the email to the investigator, and then we can move forward! :D
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Blue Chintz Gown
I threw together a new 18thC gown recently to give a dress talk at a local library about Rococo fashion. It was a totally last minute gown that I had to put together in about a week and a half after my original plan, a new caraco out of Stash fabric, didn't work out at all. I did manage to find a suitable chintz at Walmart, of all places, and since I already had a bodice pattern drafted out that fit really well, it was just a matter of cutting it out and putting it all together. I also picked up some mustard colored cotton for a petticoat and some really delicious embroidered net lace for some new engageantes. I also made new paniers, under-petticoats, and a new shift for the presentation, but I did those in the month leading up to the talk, so they were already done when I started the gown (thank goodness).  I didn't manage to finish the new stays that I started, which I really need to do because my current stays are way too short waisted and all my gowns end up sitting too high on my torso. I should be able to finish them in time for the next 18thC event in September, though.

The talk went really well, too. I absolutely hate public speaking, but I'm pretty comfortable talking about 18thC clothing, especially when it's just a general overview of the layers and the fashions of the period and nothing that in-depth. The audience was really great, too. They had a lot of questions and were really engaged, so that made things a lot easier since I could stop and answer their questions and let that sort of determine the path of the conversation rather than having to stick to the script I'd come up with. I'm not totally over my fear of public speaking, but this definitely made me feel better about any future lectures.

I actually managed to do quite a bit of hand-sewing on this dress, too, despite the time crunch. The pleats on the back, the lining, and the trim are all stitched by hand. Only the long seams, and the hidden seams on the inside of the bodice are done on machine. :D


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